Dragon: “Well, congratulations. Now you know you can never kill me.”
The dragon says with a smile. To be honest, it really annoys me to know that if we ever fight each other, he’ll have this big of an advantage on me. But as long as I can sort things out without any need for violence, there’s not all that much I need to worry about.
Dragon: “You look awfully at ease right now.”
Kais: “I’m hardly at ease. It’s just that I’m just not losing my mind.”
Dragon: “Is that so?”
He asks as if he’s really curious. He’s hard to read sometimes, and sometimes I can understand exactly what he must be thinking. That is what I expect of someone who isn’t human, but it’s still troublesome to deal with.
Kais: “Tell me; you are really the dragon who befriended Ozyllus?”
Dragon: “I thought that was obvious.”
Kais: “I suppose.”
There’s a reason I’m asking the question even though I already know the answer.
Kais: “Then did you gain this ability to transform into human form from him?”
Dragon: “Well, something like that.”
Meaning – not exactly true.
Kais: “So, why are you looking like Ozyllus?”
Dragon: “That’s the big mystery for you, isn’t it?”
He looks at me with a similar gaze as before but his aura tells me he is actually troubled by this question and is trying to think of how to answer.
Kais: “Well, I guess.”
There’s one theory that comes to mind for this. That’s that he is trying to hide something. He is trying to choose his words carefully so he could not divulge any information on what he doesn’t want me to find out.
Dragon: “You know …”
Kais: “What is it? Finally prepared an answer in your mind?”
The dragon clicks his tongue as I say so.
Dragon: “Well, even if you know that, it won’t make a difference if I don’t tell you anything.”
Kais: “That might be true.”
That might be true … for the time being.
Dragon: “So what about her?”
So instead of answering, the dragon throws a question back at me turning his attention to Sona. I turn to look at Sona who has suffered from the shock of defeat and loss of her probably most powerful spirit.
Kais: “I’m not so sure what she would do now.”
Dragon: “Aren’t you going to help her or something?”
Kais: “Do you think I’m some kind of noble knight or something?”
Dragon: “Well then, what are you?”
Kais: “Well, considering I didn’t even flinch in holding a normal conversation with someone who almost killed a little girl, I must be a demon.”
The dragon’s eyes widen upon hearing my little joke. The expression of surprise was obvious on his face.
Dragon: “You know Kais; you shouldn’t be throwing the word ‘demon’ around like that. It has more significance than you think.”
Kais: “Oh yeah – how? Why don’t you start answering some questions for me already?”
The dragon sighs – closing his eyes, then opens them and looks at me firmly.
Dragon: “Well, even if I tell you, it won’t be of much use now.”
Kais: “I should be the one to decide that.”
Dragon: “I guess that’s right.”
In the conversation so far, I have managed to not waver and hold my ground against this monstrous creature. But I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to do the same if the conversation keeps going like this. I’m already getting nervous by him constantly stalling instead of answering my questions.
Dragon: “Well, for starters, why don’t you go inside the tomb?”
I didn’t think he’d say that. Sure I want to and probably would need to go in at some point. But shouldn’t I try to gather some answers before I do that.
Dragon: “You nervous about what would happen there?”
Kais: “Isn’t that the normal way to react in this situation?”
Dragon: “So you say.”
He looks as if what I said just now was joke. But in all honesty, I don’t think anyone with a normally working mind would just go in there when he asks them to without questioning it first.
Dragon: “Let me think – ‘most people would act the same way so why does he act like it’s something strange?’”
Kais: “What- You!”
He guessed my thoughts from my face. In return, he is keeping his thoughts concealed under that façade on his face.
Kais: “Tch! don’t act so smug.”
Dragon: “Well, that wasn’t my intention.”
A hint of smile begins to surface on his face. I wonder since when in this conversation would he have started smiling he wasn’t doing his all to suppress his emotions.
Dragon: “Anyway though, you should definitely go in the tomb if you want to find out any answers. I guess being cautious or nervous is a valid reaction to my words, but it won’t be necessary here.”
He puts up a hand to draw my attention to it and then points at the tomb entrance.
Kais: “You expect me to believe whatever you say just like that?”
Dragon: “Of course I don’t. I have a few things to back me up.”
Kais: “And they are?”
Dragon: “Well, the first – this woman.”
He points at Sona.
I’m surprised too. How is she supposed to know about this? She does seem to know a few things more than me, but it didn’t seem to me that she knew things about the tomb and it’s interior. I hope he’s not trying to confuse me with some random bullshit here.
Sona: “What do you …?”
Dragon: “Don’t be so surprised.”
Sona: “But how am I supposed to …”
Dragon: “It’s obvious, isn’t it? You came here to fight me knowing I would come out of the tomb whence you reach close to the tomb.”
Sona: “I did know that.”
Dragon: “Didn’t you know the reason why I’d do that.”
The dragon looks at Sona fully expecting the answer. So what did she know?
Sona: “You would do that to see who has come near the tomb.”
Kais: “Shouldn’t he be able to know by other means?”
He’s quite capable after all.
Sona: “Generally he should. And that means would be the little girl.”
I see. So that is why Sona …
Dragon: “And hence you attacked and destroyed her.”
Sona: “It’s not like she’s dead or anything.”
Sona shows irritation at the dragon accusing her of ‘destroying her’, but it is a fact that she did attack her really brutally.
Dragon: “She’s made of energy so that just isn’t possible.”
Sona: “So? Get to the point.”
Kais: “Please accept that request.”
Dragon: “Well, the point is – what’s the reason for me coming to see you?”
Sona: “Isn’t it to protect the tomb?”
Dragon: “You think I need to?”
He looks back and forth between the two of us. I can see that Sona is surprised; I am probably the same.
Dragon: “The tomb belongs to Ozyllus. No one can dare step foot in if his soul does not allow them to.”
I can now sense admiration for Ozyllus among his hidden emotions.
Kais: “So you mean there’s a different reason?”
Dragon: “Well, duh.”
I click my tongue.
Kais: “Okay, that was annoying.”
Sona: “Just spill it already.”
She gets on her feet. She has regained some composure ever since the dragon brought her in this conversation. It may be because she has been distracted for now … or it may be because she also wants to find some answers.
Dragon: “Well, the reason is to see if that person meets my standards. If they do, I welcome them into the tomb.”
Kais: “And I suppose this means that I meet those standards, even though I don’t know what they are?”
Dragon: “It’s simple – they have to be a competent enough psychic.”
I did think of that possibility. The fact that psychics get dropped off on the island only makes sense if the standard are something like that.
Dragon: “Not surprised?”
Kais: “Being a fairly competent psychic is all I am, so if it had to be anything, that’s it.”
Dragon: “You seem to think too low of yourself.”
Sona: “His self-esteem is not the issue here.”
I turn my attention to Sona. Does she have something else she wants to ask? I don’t know all that much about this tomb and can’t think of any appropriate questions to ask this dragon.
Sona: “Can you tell me what you’re standards for deciding who’s a competent psychic and who’s not are?”
Fair question I guess. Psychic abilities are not all offensive so it’s not like one can just put an estimate on how much damage a psychic deals and judge how competent they are. They are not all defensive either. I myself rarely use an offensive or defensive ability. So I am getting curious to hear his answer.
Dragon: “Well, there’s a simple way to judge a psychic’s competency.”
Kais: “And that is?”
He raises his right hand and puts up his index finger pointing at me.
Dragon: “If they fear me and constantly try to appeal to me thinking they’ll gain some kind of benefit from it, then they are completely incompetent.”
That’s harsh. But I do get the point.
Dragon: “If they fear me and try to run away from me, then they are incompetent as well.”
That makes sense too.
Dragon: “If they fear me and try to attack me in blind rage, they are incompetent too.”
For a moment, he looks at Sona as if telling her – ‘Even if you were a psychic, you would have failed’. Her reaction to it is nothing. It is as if she had already expected that remark.
Dragon: “But if they fear me and try to sort out their thoughts because of it and hold a conversation with me, then I’ll deem them competent enough to enter.”
Finally his gaze and finger both point at me.
Sona: “So you are telling me his cautious behavior is what got him through.
Dragon: “Not exactly.”
The dragon denies the statement.
Kais: “Can I ask you something?”
Kais: “What would you do … if a psychic came here who wasn’t afraid of you?”
Sona and the dragon are surprised by my statement.
Sona: “You don’t know?”
Kais: “Know what?”
Sona: “There’s a special effect that activates on anyone who sees him. It makes them afraid of him. Doesn’t matter how powerful you are and doesn’t matter if you can even defeat him, you’ll be afraid of him.”
That’s interesting information. So the fear caused to everyone is because of a special effect. That changes some things.
Sona: “You alright?”
Why would he need something like that? He can just make anyone genuinely afraid of him. But he has a special charm of sorts for it. I doubt he was born with it though.
My thoughts suddenly break off and I realize I was spacing out.
Kais: “Yeah, don’t worry about it.”
The dragon tilts his head. This remark reminds me of someone who tilts their head a lot.
Kais: “I don’t think you’ll want me to go in alone.”
Dragon: “Well, I just can’t risk it.”
Kais: “But you are not coming either.”
Dragon: “Huh? Why won’t I?”
Kais: “Because I sense no intention of going in from you.”
Dragon: “I see.”
I just state a fact but the dragon nods many times before continuing.
Dragon: “Indeed, you are right.”
The smile is still present on his face and it somehow looks appropriate for his tone right now.
Kais: “So the one who would come with me will be ‘her’.”
The dragon nods while answering and then puts up his right hand, with his palm open to face the ground.
Dragon: “Come forth!”
Brightness strikes my eyes for a second but then it clears up. And there I see the little girl I first met on the island again.
Dragon: “Well, here she is.”
Kais: “Now that I think about it, isn’t she similar to spirits like that rabbit and Death?”
Sona: “Do I have to remind it wasn’t a rabbit?”
Kais: “I know. It’s just convenient to call it one. And besides, that’s not the point.”
Sona sighs, which annoys me a little.
Sona: “I suppose you are not wrong. She is similar, to say the least.”
Dragon: “Well, time to wake up.”
As soon as the dragon says that, the girl opens her eyes and looks robotic for a moment. Then she turns to how she usually looks – curious and tilting her head.
Girl: “What’s going on?”
Dragon: “Not much.”
She shifts her gaze back and looks at the dragon. Her expression is of surprise, at the very least.
Girl: “But this … is outside of the tomb.”
Dragon: “Did you think I never step outside of the tomb?”
The girl nods. The dragon stands there dumbfounded by that reply.
Girl: “I always saw you inside or on the roof of the tomb.”
Dragon: “It’s true I didn’t really come out at any specific time you were around, but that doesn’t mean I would never come out.”
That’s a fair logic but I can understand why a child may not understand that.
Girl: “But then, wouldn’t he … be wrong?”
That catches my attention too. Who’s she talking about?
Girl: “He said you’d never come out. That something bad will happen if you come out.”
The girl looks down, holding herself and trembling while she says these words.
Girl: “That a war would be about to break out; that the last days of this island would have come.”
Sona: “Who’s she talking about?”
Kais: “I’m as clueless as you are.”
Neither of us knows who she is talking about but this still gives me a bad feeling. The dragon, however, waves his hands as if to dispel my worries.
Dragon: “Don’t think too much of it. Probably a psychic I deemed unworthy of entering the tomb spouted that rubbish to her.”
The girl denies the dragon’s statement as soon as he says it. But then, who said these things to her?
Girl: “He was a man … who didn’t come here to go to the tomb, but to tell me this.”
Dragon: “Wait, what?”
Girl: “He said you won’t be able to sense him because he’s not a special person.”
Kais: “Not a special person.”
Girl: “He said he’s not a psychic, not a spirit-user, not any other sort of supernatural, but just a simple human.”
Sona: “How the hell did he come here then?”
The girl looks down, not answering the question.
Dragon: “Hey, come on, answer her. Did you see how he came here?”
Girl: “I did. That was the only time I saw someone coming here.”
Kais: “So how did he come here?”
Girl: “By a wooden something he called ‘boat’.”
This just got a whole another level of crazy. He came here by a boat? Is that even possible?
Girl: “He told me he came to warn me. When I see you out of the tomb …”
She looks at the dragon,
Girl: “There will only be a few days left for this place.”
The dragon’s angry. I can feel it. It isn’t on the face, but it is inside him. In fact, the aura he is emanating has gotten so intense the other two can also feel it, so there’s no point trying to hide it.
The girl’s shoulders jump in fear and she tries to get back. The dragon looks straight at her and says,
Dragon: “Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you, but do tell me – this human who dares to foretell the fate of this island. Do you remember anything else about him?”
The girl is still afraid, and it’s pretty understandable. You just have to be afraid after being in this aura. I can’t even feel my own legs right now, but they are probably shaking.
Still, the question he asked is one I want the answer to too.
Kais: “Don’t worry.”
The girl turns to look at me, the fear still in her eyes.
Kais: “He really won’t do anything to you. So think calmly and answer him.”
I can sense the killing intent coming from him, but it’s directed at none of us, but the man who claimed that this island would end in a few days.
Girl: “He had … brown hair, tall as Kais and …”
The girl looks down, trying to avoid eye contact with the dragon.
Girl: “he said his name was … was … Ethan … Kales.”
In a place that can be defined only as darkness, someone opens their eyes.
What’s this place? He wondered.
Am I in hell? He wondered.
He doesn’t remember everything that happened, but does remember that he died. He got shot in the stomach by deception and ended up dying.
Why am I here? If I am dead, then … that should be it. He wasn’t sure of what to think when faced with such a bizarre darkness.
Wait! There … there was … yeah! And suddenly it becomes clear to him. Suddenly, he remembers the talk he had with the person who killed him. And then he remembered the realization that had hit him before dying.
That means … it means … I’m a …
Finishing his sentence for him, there is a voice that echoes through the darkness.
Who? Who’s there? Then he realizes he can’t speak. No matter how much he tries, he can’t feel his mouth moving.
???: “Don’t worry. You’ll be able to speak after a while.”
The voice comes again. It sounds like the voice of a man, but he weren’t too sure.
???: “Just be patient for now, Ro.”
Ro is surprised to say the least. This voice doesn’t sound very familiar but there is a distinct feeling inside him that told him who it belongs to. Yet Ro denies the possibility knowing full well it’s the truth.
Who are you? Tell me … who are you? He asks in his mind.
???: “You already know it, don’t you? Don’t deny it, you do know it.”
No, don’t be absurd. I don’t know who you are. He says in his mind.
Yes, I don’t know who you are. I don’t know. I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know I … he keeps repeating in his mind, until the voice decides to give in.
???: “Have it your way then.”
A figure emerges in the silhouette of a young man.
???: “My name is Barry.”